State-by-state breakdown of recreational use of cannabis

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Susan Meyer

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Ross Martin

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Cannabis use laws by state

In December 2020, the U.N. Commission on Narcotic Drugs voted to  reclassify cannabis, potentially making this decision a  watershed moment. This vote took the substance off of the strict list that includes dangerous and highly addictive drugs which in turn is  easing restrictions on research into marijuana’s therapeutic use  and medical benefits. While the vote  isn’t predicted to have an immediate impact on loosening international controls, many nations will look to global conventions like this for guidance.

There is also a lot of research into the driving behavior of marijuana users, and if they would consider driving under the influence. 

The overhaul of cannabis policy around legalization has undoubtedly moved at a rapid pace over the past few years. While still a sticky topic on a federal level and unevenly addressed, 37 states in the U.S. have taken part in decriminalizing and legalizing medical use as well as recreational use of cannabis. Here is a state-by-state breakdown of legislation passed so far in 2022 and a breakdown of states that have already legalized recreational use.


State legislations that have passed so far in 2022


  • Passed in December 2021.
  • On January 1, 2022, adult-use recreational marijuana became available for purchase in counties where a majority of its residents voted in favor of cannabis legislation. 
  • Any adult over the age of 21 can purchase up to an ounce with products taxed at 20 percent. 

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania

  • Starting on January 1, 2022, many employers will no longer be able to require applicants to be drug tested for marijuana as a condition of their employment. Similar rules are in place in New York. 
  • In November 2021, city voters strongly approved a referendum on marijuana legalization that would decriminalize, regulate and tax the use and sale to adults aged 21 and older for non-medical purposes. 


  • Passed on July 1, 2021. 
  • Adults 21 and older can possess up to 1.5 ounces of recreational cannabis. The state passed medical marijuana back in 2012 and has since registered over 50,000 patients. 

Legalized states


  • Passed in February 2015, became the  first state to license onsite cannabis consumption.
  • Adults can possess up to one ounce of cannabis as well as cultivate up to six plants for personal consumption, untaxed. 
  • Recreational shops opened in 2016 and on-site consumption was made possible in 2019 with proper licensure. 



  • Passed on November 9, 2016.
  • Adults who are not participating in the state’s medical cannabis program are allowed to legally grow (up to six plants) and possess personal use quantities of cannabis (up to one ounce). 
  • Retail sales of marijuana by state-licensed establishments began under the law on January 1, 2018, with  large-scale corporate players restricted from getting involved until 2023


District of Columbia 







New Jersey

New Mexico

New York 


South Dakota

  • Session on April 28, 2021 to hear oral arguments about  Amendment A, which allows adults to purchase and possess up to one ounce of marijuana and grow up to three plants for personal use. 
  • If affirmed by the state Supreme Court, the law will take effect on July 1, 2021. 




Laws related to marijuana and driving

States vary in how permissable they find driving under the influence of cannibus or THC to be. 

Twelve states (Arizona, Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Utah and Wisconsin) have zero-tolerance laws for driving under the influence of THC. If you found to be driving with any THC in your system, you can receive a ticket.

Five states (Illinois, Montana, Nevada, Ohio and Washington) have a defined legal limit that you can be fined for driving in excess of, much like with alcohol.

Most other states will only test drivers for drugs if their driving is actually impaired. 

marijuana and insurance
Learn more about car insurance and marijuana

While marijuana may be legal in some states, driving under the influence is still dangerous, and getting caught for it in the wrong state will raise insurance rates significantly. Learn more about DUIs and DWIs and car insurance

Other states with marijuana law changes in the works

Other states with the legalization of recreational use of cannabis on the agenda this year include  Connecticut,  Delaware,  Florida,  Hawaii,  Iowa,  Kentucky,  Minnesota,  Nebraska,  North Dakota,  Pennsylvania,  Rhode Island,  Texas  and  Wyoming

Learn more about the impact of legalization on driving behavior in our latest  Cannabis Driving Statistics Research Report, and read up on how recreational use of marijuana can impact the neighborhood.